Millions of people across the globe take to the skies, rails and roadways for business or pleasure each year. Many vacations and business trips go off without a hitch, but not all travelers are so fortunate. One of the inherent risks of travel is being victimized by theft or losing money as a result of personal carelessness.
When traveling, it’s important to think about dollars and cents — or Euros and yuans — in addition to packing, sightseeing and lodging. This includes considering how to pay for the trip, both before you leave and after you arrive at your destination.
One big advantage to using credit cards when traveling is that you do not have to carry a lot of cash. Many people prefer to use credit cards when booking flights or making hotel reservations because credit cards often have built-in security features. These may include insurance against canceled trips or easy refund policies. Credit cards are also more secure than cash when facing potential fraud or theft.
Credit cards also can be advantageous when traveling internationally. Purchase prices are exchanged at the interbank exchange rate, says the resource group The Independent Traveler. That rate may be more consumer-friendly and any fees, if your credit card company even charges fees, incurred may be less than the cost of converting your currency. Keep in mind that your standard credit card may not be accepted everywhere, as “chip-and-PIN” credit cards are now used in many countries. That may prohibit you from making purchases on credit cards with just magnetic strips.
Keep a list of all important credit card phone numbers and account numbers when traveling, so you can promptly call companies if your card is lost or stolen.
Travelers’ checks are another alternative to cash. Security is provided against lost or stolen checks by the issuing party, which is typically a bank. Investopedia notes that travelers’ checks that are stolen and identified are canceled and new ones are reissued.
Sometimes you may need cash when traveling, as some retailers do not accept credit cards or checks. Stash cash safely, keeping wallets in a front pocket and using money storage accessories to hide money. Store cash in different places so thieves don’t get all your cash should you be victimized.
Clean out your wallet. If your wallet is packed with cards, membership information and other personal details, clean it out before traveling or use a travel wallet, which is a pared down version of standard wallets.
When planning a business trip or vacation, don’t forget to take steps to protect your finances.